By Christina Mitchell
In the 1970s, a preventive patrol experiment was attempted in Kansas City to test how police patrol could be effective for the community. It was based on two theories: that visible police patrolling areas would prevent crime and possibly stop potential offenders and that with police presence, it would possibly bring a piece of mind to the community and its citizens. Although this experiment did not get the results that they had hoped for, it did get accepted and adapted throughout the United States and was widely used in our communities.
Although the results in 1972-1973 showed that it did not affect the public’s feelings of security, I personally disagree. From my perspective being in Vegas and moving from area to area I have learned the communities that are safe and the ones that are not so good. As a parent, you feel a sense of security when your children are playing in the front yard in the summer and see friendly police officers driving by patrolling your area.
Growing up in Kansas City, I personally saw a lot more police patrol than I do here in Vegas. The police in Kansas City are very friendly and very patient. I recall how exciting it was to see a police officer when you were playing at the park because they always had D.A.R.E. stickers and little toys that they would hand out to you if you stood in line by their window. I think that this served a great purpose because it showed children that police officers are friendly. Hopefully, this helped send a message to children that the police are there friends and are there to help them when they need it.
We have recently seen over time huge signs posted throughout neighborhoods stating that with the police layoffs, there will not be patrol in certain areas. At first, this was alarming to many members of our community, and as the signs began to spread closer to our neighborhood, we were very concerned because we have seen a decrease in police patrolling in our neighborhood since we moved into our home three years ago and because those huge wooden signs that were posted throughout neighborhoods not only informed its citizens in the community but also informed possible offenders. I have not seen the signs as much now, but I am concerned that we have already informed criminals that we are left unprotected. Since the signs, we have had several instances of broken windows and a significant increase in graffiti, which ultimately brings me to another theory that was conducted with the preventive control experiment that patrolling can prevent possible offenders.
There has been small activity in our neighborhood only after we have seen a decline in the police patrolling. Leading me to believe that although the 1970s preventive patrol experiment brought discouraging results if we were to graph the results of how well preventive patrolling does help in 2012 I would think that the results would be higher now. Police patrolling not only brings our citizens the sense of relief that they are being protected but it also allows children to see that the police are friendly and here to help. Preventive patrolling does help prevent crime because possible offenders have something that they should worry about if there is a possibility that the police are paying attention to the surroundings. Patrolling should be continued and the communities in Vegas should really evaluate the consequences of removing and reducing their police under budget cuts. This harsh reality of trying to reduce our debt may have dire consequences on the future of our residents planning to reside in Vegas.